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Children are not to be seen here either


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 2, 1999

The homeowners association for a townhouse community in Virginia has prohibited children from playing in the streets, the Washington Times reported.

The association claims the rule will help keep children safe and prevent them from blocking streets. But there has been a hue and cry from others, who claim the rule discriminates against families with children. The rule allows adult joggers and bicyclists to frequent the development's streets. Others question whether the rule will stand up in court.

Educate yourself about home-equity loans

Anybody who owns a home gets the letters, the ones promising $10,000, $20,000 or even$40,000 worth of easy money. All you have to do is fill out the enclosed application and you can tap into the equity in your home. That's money you can use to pay off those pesky credit cards, send your child to college, buy a car and a multitude of other things. Plus, the interest on the loan may even be tax deductible. But, like most things, home equity loans can have a dark side. For one thing, if you default, your home may be in jeopardy. Here are a couple of sources for facts on home-equity loans. The Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection offers information about home equity lines online at www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/homes/homequt.htm. Or, you can call (202) 326-3650 for information. The National Home Equity Mortgage Association also offers a booklet on home equity borrowing facts. For copies, call (800) 342-1121 or visit its Web site at www.nhema.org/consumer/front.htm.


n Free help for new home buyers is available from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 12 and 19 at the Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth St N, St. Petersburg. The seminar, sponsored by the Community Service Foundation, will cover all aspects of the home-buying process, from choosing a Realtor to signing the closing documents. Call (727) 461-0618 for information.

n Families can gather tips on how to budget to save money for a home at classes also offered by the Community Service Foundation. The classes are scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Sunshine Center, 330 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg, and Jan. 13 at the Clearwater YWCA, 222 S Lincoln Ave., Clearwater. For registration, call (727) 461-0618 n Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Florida Suncoast is offering free seminars for new home buyers from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday at Faith United Methodist Church, 12128 State Road 52, Hudson. Topics covered include: shopping for a home, qualifying for a mortgage, understanding your credit, closing the loan, and homeowner responsibilities. For information or registration, call (727) 841-9074 in west Pasco or (352) 523-1100 in east Pasco.

n Free classes for those who own fixer-upper properties, as well as those who want to buy a house are being offered from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at 28870 U.S. 19 N, Suite 300, Clearwater on the third Wednesday of each month by Lyon Mortgage & Investment Co. Information about various government loan programs, including those available to finance home fix-ups, will be covered. Call (727) 725-8250 to register.

n Evening seminars for home buyers are offered from 7 to 9 on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 9306 U.S. 19, Port Richey, across from Gulf View Square Mall. The classes, sponsored by Kur-Lin Mortgage Services, will include information on the home buyer assistance programs offered in Pasco County. For information, call (727) 847-5710.

n A workshop covering prequalifying for a mortgage, choosing a real estate agent, evaluating credit and understanding the basics of obtaining financing is offered by Allstate Mortgage & Loan from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 to 11 a.m. Saturdays at 25400 U.S. 19 N, Suite 263, Clearwater. For information, call (800) 701-1186.

n American Home Mortgage and First American Title offer "How to Buy Your First Home," which includes information on credit reports, qualifying for a mortgage and down-payment assistance. Sessions are from 7 to 8 p.m. the second and last Tuesdays of each month. Call (727) 446-2911 for reservations and locations in St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

n Free workshops, presented by Buccaneer Mortgage and Brophy Real Estate in St. Petersburg and Seminole, are offered from 6:30 to 8 p.m. the first and last Tuesdays of each month. For information or reservations, call (727) 898-2827 or (727) 522-6666.

Send items to Real Estate, c/o Teresa Burney, the Times, 1000 N Ashley Drive, Suite 700, Tampa, FL 33602. Deadline is 10 days before publication.

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